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GUIDE: What beginners need to know about getting a credit card

By AYIE LICSI Published Aug 08, 2022 9:37 pm

So you're more financially stable and already have somewhat of a grip on the adulting life. You must be thinking, "Am I ready to take that next big step of having my own credit card?"

Getting a credit card, however, isn't as simple as opening a bank account. You have to apply for one and there's a chance your application might get rejected as the bank takes into account your annual salary, credit history, and other factors.

While the process might sound tedious, being prepared and informed may help smooth the process. Here's what you need to know about applying for your first credit card.

Requirements

Think of applying for a credit card as applying for a job. There are certain criteria you have to meet. For starters, most banks require applicants to be between 21 to 65 years of age to qualify as a principal cardholder (UnionBank allows 18 to 70-year-olds to apply). Minors can become supplementary holders through a parent or sibling.

The next thing you'll need is a stable source of income—credit card providers need proof that you'll be able to pay for your bills. It's recommended to wait at least a year of stay at a company before you apply for a card or have one to two years of profitable professional practice or business operation.

Depending on the bank, credit cards require a gross annual income ranging from P120,000 to P250,000. PNB Ze-lo, BPI Edge, Security Bank Classic, EastWest Practical, and Citi Simplicity+ have a monthly income requirement of P15,000 and below. 

Another thing you need to do is build up your credit score. While this is easier to do when you already have a credit card, you can improve your credit score by maintaining a postpaid mobile plan from Globe or Smart and paying for your utility bills on time. Non-government loans like Home Credit also play a part in your credit score.

Types of credit cards

Each type of credit card comes with its own perks and benefits. It usually ranges from basic ones with low-income requirements to premium ones with higher income requirements and more perks. The cards also have different annual fees, but some are currently offering ones free of these yearly payments.

For beginners and applicants who get rejected, you can try getting a secured credit card. This type works by making a security deposit, usually equal to or a percentage of your limit, with your credit card provider. 

Additionally, you should always read the terms and conditions of credit cards (no matter how much you want to skip them) and learn your card's different features like credit limit (how much you can spend monthly), late fees, grace periods, perks, and discounts.

Remember that credit cards are meant to be an alternative to cash, not extra cash. Owning one comes with a ton of perks but with it comes responsibility, as well.